Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force

The Alexandria Court Service Unit is an active member of the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force.

Page updated on Nov 20, 2018 at 10:29 AM

History of the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force

Since July 2003 and through the support of the Honorable Frank R. Wolf of Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, the Congress of the United States has funded the  Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force as part of the Department of Justice Appropriations Bill. The Gang Task Force was established as a multi-jurisdictional partnership comprised of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to address gang activity in Northern Virginia through dedicated officers and resources, thereby making the region inhospitable to gang activity.

The goals of the Gang Task Force were built on three components: enforcement, prevention/education, and intervention. The regional strategy to address gang activity necessitated a phased-in approach beginning with enforcement operations, followed by additional components of prevention, intervention and outreach.

The Board of Directors of the Gang Task Force is comprised of the Chief Law Enforcement Officers of the following participating jurisdictions in Northern Virginia as set forth in their Memorandum of Understanding:

  • Arlington County
  • City of Alexandria
  • Town of Dumfries
  • City of Fairfax
  • Fairfax County
  • City of Falls Church
  • Fauquier County
  • Town of Herndon
  • Town of Leesburg
  • Loudoun County
  • Manassas City
  • Manassas Park
  • Prince William County
  • Town of Vienna
  • Virginia State Police
  • Town of Warrenton

A Memorandum of Understanding was also established and is comprised of the following Juvenile Court Service Unit Directors in Northern Virginia which formed the Steering Board to address the prevention and intervention phase for the Gang Task Force:

  • City of Alexandria
  • County of Arlington/ City of Falls Church
  • County of Fairfax
  • County of Loudoun
  • County of Prince William

The Steering Board oversees the activities of the Prevention and Intervention Coordinating Committee comprised of five GRIT (Gang Response Intervention Team) Coordinators. The Steering Board evaluates the need, appropriateness and success of programs and serves as the policy and oversight board to the Coordinating Committee. The goals of the GRIT Coordinators include developing a collaborative effort among the counties, cities and towns which make up the Northern Virginia region to stem the growth of youth gangs and reduce gang violence through effective programming, education and coordination.

Office of Juvenile Delinquency and Prevention Comprehensive Gang Model

The Steering Board and the GRIT Coordinators have adopted the  Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention Comprehensive Gang Model to structure appropriate strategies to address intervention/prevention programs as outlined below:


  • Create and maintain formal lines of communication among the participating jurisdictions regarding gang activities, effective programming and program accessibility. Through these collaborations, essential programs are created to enhance prevention and intervention efforts. Expand those lines of communication out into the community to include community-based organizations, non-profit organizations, businesses and faith-based organizations.
  • Collectively develop, coordinate and implement gang prevention, intervention and education programs within the region which are targeted, efficient and effective. Program success and failures will be shared with partners and stakeholders for the purpose of extending successful services and eliminating ineffective programming.
  • Develop and implement an effective plan for educating youth, families and the community about the realities of gangs and how communities and community members can play a role in gang prevention.

Regional Gang Assessment 

OJJDP model calls for a comprehensive assessment of gang activity which indicates:

  • Scope of the problem
  • Active gangs
  • Where they are active, commit their crimes, live, claim territory, and go to school
  • The numbers of gangs and numbers of gang members
  • Where preventive and intervention services are in place and where they are missing
  • Where opportunities are and what the strength and weaknesses of the community are
  • The assessment will provide a road map and strategies for action
  • Allows us to maximize resources
  • The assessment provides sub-reports for the localities

Development of Community Partners 

  • Facilitate communication between and among service providers in the community across jurisdictions and across various types of providers (public, private, faith-based, community groups, business groups)
  • Introduce and align organizations that have co-existed in the communities for years but may not have working relations
  • Networking allows organizations to join forces, share resources and implement a wraparound approach to address a client’s needs
  • Enhance ability to qualify for grants

Intervention, Prevention and Education Program 

  • Three components: street outreach, employment assistance, family services/advocacy
  • A result of input from and collaboration of the local teams, Coordinating Committee and Steering Board
  • It can be implemented across the region yet be flexible enough to meet the specific needs of individual jurisdictions
  • Can be replicated

Public Service Announcements 

  • Getting specific messages out to youth, families and the community with different media and messages
  • Using ideas suggested by local teams and teens
  • Using as much voluntary assistance and resources as possible to hold down costs